Making Plans for the Long Flight –

Re-visioning Icarus’ Next 10 Years


It’s been the kind of contemplative, hibernating winter that’s left us ready for an action-packed spring. Over the past few months:

  • Jacks and I spent two months living in a little house in the woods finishing our first solo books and revising the classic Icarus text Navigating the Space Between Brilliance and Madness.
  • Longtime web coordinator Eric has been in Minneapolis working with a crew of Drupal designers on the long awaited new version of the website.
  • A miraculous fairy godmother donor who recognizes the importance of our work gave Icarus a substantial donation.
  • Last but not least, Jacks and I have enlisted Kiran Nigam from the AORTA Collective and Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha from the Bad-ass Visionary Healers Collective to help Icarus devise a plan to strengthen the organization for the next ten years.

Developing a Visioning/Advisory Board

We realize that we need solid mentorship to help us make the organization more sustainable and accessible. Through more intentional hiring processes we hope to center the leadership of currently underrepresented communities, particularly people of color and economically marginalized folks. Through an emphasis on volunteer coordination we hope to widen the number of people in decision-making. We want to make the tools and resources of Icarus available to whole a lot more people. We’ve decided to create a visioning/advisory board to provide the guidance and vision to help us pull it all off. The board will be partly composed of long-term Icarus members, and partly composed of new people from different areas of social justice organizing who will provide fresh eyes, ideas, and strategy.

Re-releasing our Beloved Publications

Now that we have some funding, all of our books are back in print!

Jacks and I worked hard this winter to finish a newly revised 10th printing of Navigating the Space Between Brilliance and Madness, our classic Icarus Project reader. It came out last week in perfect-bound version with a new epilogue, fixed-up layout, ISBN # and barcode so it can be more widely distributed.

The 2nd edition of Harm Reduction Guide to Coming Off Psychiatric Drugs came back from the printers last month. It’s currently being translated into Japanese, Italian, and French. We are finishing up edits on the 2nd edition of Friends Make the Best Medicine which should be out by the end of March with a new color cover.

We are also expanding to more on-demand and e-reader formats soon. And stay tuned to the new website which will have a subsection for each book including high-quality downloads,comments, a place for you to suggest edits or additions, and more!


Jacks and I have stepped back up as interim co-directors during this transition period to fill the leadership vacuum that has existed in Icarus since we lost most of our funding in 2009. We plan to hire new staff in the fall, have the new board meet virtually for the first time in August, and have a new board and staff retreat in October.

We want to involve the Icarus community, and those who haven’t yet felt comfortable in Icarus, in this process.

In the meantime, we have created a community survey to get your feedback on this process. Please take a moment to fill it out.

In addition, we will be offering several ways for people to be part of this process, including monthly conference calls for Icaristas interested in organizing worldwide, and an email listserv for those who’d rather communicate in writing.

We are aiming towards creating a vibrant collective decision making body of staff and volunteers.  We want to encourage international and intergenerational collaboration as we move forward.

Jacks/Sascha Book Tour Update

Jacks and I are going on tour in conjunction with the release of my book, Maps to the Other Side: The Adventures of a Bipolar Cartographer and Jacks’ book, Inbetweenland, as well as the new Navigating the Space book.

Look for them on the west coast, the southwest, the pacific northwest, and the east coast in March, April, and May.

Check out all the dates here:

Website Update

Work on our new website continues, with new planned features including our mentorship network, easier ways to contribute stories, articles, and artwork, and mobile responsiveness. If you are a Drupalista, a designer, or someone generally skilled in PHP who has some time to donate or is possibly interested in some contract work, please contact our web coordinator Eric at  [email protected]

We are happy to announce a partnership with Advantage Labs in Minneapolis: a small Drupal shop specializing in helping non-profits and mission-driven organizations use Drupal to their best advantage.

Website trivia of the day: We have had almost a quarter-million posts on our web forums since their inception!

Fundraising Update

Thanks to those of you who responded to our winter fundraising appeal! With your support, we have been able to support the Madness Radio fundraising drive, rework our publications, start establishing our advisory board and forge a partnership with experienced Drupal developers to advise our web redesign project. The vast majority of our money comes from Icarus supporters, and the occasional grant – no corporate or pharma money here.

The Icarus Project is fiscally sponsored by FJC, which is a 501(c)(3) organization. As such, all donations are tax deductible to the extent allowed by law. We have a secure donation system set up through WePay.

Above: Icarus Project co-founder Sascha Altman Dubrul interview at Esalen Institute.


  1. looking forward to your ASHEVILLE, N.C. travels. i am reasonably new to icarus project after community public mental health (texas, 53rd in the nation behind the territories) and am volunteering at cooper riis to learn, grow, center for a year (asheville & mill spring) while continuing with the hope concept wellness center in dfw’s metroplex so am getting introduced to icarus with faith and the good folks here. good to see icarus taking on a broad & diverse family (multicultural). let us know how we can help.

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  2. – “A miraculous fairy godmother donor who recognizes the importance of our work gave Icarus a substantial donation.”

    This miraculous fairy godmother isn’t connected to the financial services industry are they?

    Capitalism exacerbates human distress. Corporations collude to make money out of that distress.

    Some transparency would be good.

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  3. hey jen – i hope you get to hook up with jacks in asheville in a couple weeks! i’ll be in nyc but i’m sure we’ll end up crossing paths sometime before too long.

    hey inarticulate: here’s the folks who gave us the money:
    i’m proud to take money from them.
    you and i wouldn’t be communicating with each other on this website without the benevolent donations of rich allies. so it goes.

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